Main Article Content
Parental self-efficacy (PSE) is a key to the child-parent relationship. It reflects parents’ self-perception of their ability to perform parenting tasks successfully and a high level of parental self-efficacy is associated with positive child outcomes. The literature on cultural differences regarding PSE is scant. This study applied a cultural perspective and examined differences between Arab and Jewish mothers with regard to PSE and associated factors such as marital satisfaction, social support, wellbeing and stress. Based on a sample of 170 married mothers in Israel (age in years: M = 30.14 , SD = 6.1 ), it revealed that Arab mothers experienced a higher degree of PSE, marital satisfaction and wellbeing, as well as lower stress, than Jewish mothers. PSE among Arab mothers was predicted by marital satisfaction and stress. Among Jewish mothers, PSE was predicted by stress and wellbeing as well as financial indicators. The paper discusses the findings from a cultural perspective, focusing on the experience of parenting in an Arab, collective, traditional and patriarchic society compared to parenting in a Jewish, individualistic, liberal society. The study concludes that it is important to consider the cultural context of parenting to the sense of parental efficacy and to understand the cultural norms and values of individuals whose parenting capacity comes under assessment. Based on the findings it was suggested that family therapy or spousal therapy may provide benefit to Arab mothers who report a low level of PSE. For Jewish mothers, alleviating financial hardship and providing material help could provide similar benefits, in addition to lowering the mother’s level of stress. Limitations of the study as well as future studies directions were also discussed.
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